Today’s Joy

Just Pamela here.  I wanted to focus on the people / things that brought me joy today.  While there were many, here are just a few:



Breakfast with my Halloween Baby who turned 17 years old today!  Love you Drakester, even when you make unhealthy food choices. 



A baby’s smile!




And pink pumpkins of Hope! 


Proverbs 17:22  A joyful heart is good medicine…


Just Pamela Moments at Gilda’s House

Here is a link to Gilda’s House in Grand Rapids…. What a wonderful and incredible place!!!!

Moment Number #1  Oh…I wish I had a picture…….

Pamela walking up the stairs to reach our meeting place.   You all imagine.  And just for the record, she refused the offer to take the elevator.

Moment Number #2

Member of support Group looking at Pamela:   “Can I ask you a question?” 

Just Pamela quips:  “What is a vulva?”   Pause from group and then a room full of laughter.

Moment Number #3

Just Pamela:  “I don’t want to be a Debby Downer.”

Woman quips:  “No, don’t be Debbie Downer.  I’m Debbie.   You can be a Pamela Downer”  Pause…

Just Pamela:  Releases a well earned belly laugh.

Moment Number #4

Walking to the car at the end of the meeting.  Person in front of us veers left.  We veer right

Just Pamela:  “Maybe we should follow her (person veering left)”  But Pamela keeps going right.  “Whew it’s kind of rough over here…There aren’t any lights.  Krogman is taking us off the beaten path”.

Tammy:  “Well, maybe you should slow down, or let someone help (takes Just Pamela’s arm)”.

Pamela:  Mutters something unintelligible, but I do hear…….”It’s getting squishy.”

Cheri:  “That’s so you can dig seed holes with those 3 inch heeled boots of yours.  We could come back and plant a garden.” (Pamela thinks she got by with the earlier “Krogman” remark).

Tammy and Pamela:  Continue their walk and end up walking away from my car in the parking lot.

Cheri:  “My car is over here. ”  I point for added emphasis.

The dynamic duo meander on over to my car.  My heart takes a picture and I smile inside.  Beauty for ashes…Isaiah 61.

For you…Just Pamela…..

“Whatever it is you may be going through.  I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an over comer.  Stay in the fight til the final round.  You’re not going under ’cause God

is holding you right now.  You might be down for the moment.  Feeling like it’s hopeless.  That’s

when He reminds you….That you’re an overcomer.  You’re An overcomer.”  

              Mandisa   “Overcomer”


One in a Million

Just Pamela again!  Richard says I need to update the blog even though I would rather wait until I have accurate information.  BUT I am submitting to my husband so here goes.  I spoke with Dr. Brader’s nurse (he is in surgery) who said they discussed many options and she didn’t know which one was decided.  What I do know is that I need a PET scan to see if it has metastasized elsewhere in the body, and that I will be referred to U of M’s melanoma clinic.  There are some tests which were suppose to be run on the lymph nodes.  The nurse said the tests had been requested but she did not have the results.  She did not know if Dr. Brader would call me with the results or if he would go over them at my next visit (November 6th). The tests were to see if this cancer was caused by one of two different mutant genes as that would direct treatment options. I have requested all my reports so I can be more knowledgeable.  I have finally been able to research vulvar melanoma and found out today that it affects 1 in 1 million women, so thought it was an appropriate title for this post.  I have to go now,  I need to go by a lottery ticket with those odds!  Love all of you, Just Pamela

Hebrews 10:23 – Hold on to your Hope for He who promises is FAITHFUL. 

Still Waiting

Just Pamela here.  I gave Cheri the day off (sort of).  I did not receive a phone call as expected from the doctor today but you can be assured that I will call first thing in the morning.  I have a sense of myself becoming unleashed and getting rowdy about tackling this cancer.  

However, I was not just waiting around for news today.  I had a nice visit from my sister-in-law and her two precious grandchildren while we all enjoyed my “diva” package that came in the mail from New Mexico (thank you Clavel).  We stressed how “divas” are both SMART (who love to read) and SASSY (who love bling)!  Then my Goodwill girls (Cheri and Tammy) accompanied me to Gilda’s Club for my first cancer support group, where I met ladies who are in different stages of this journey.  I feel emotionally spent but in a good way, so I am going to keep this short tonight.  

“Give your worries to God and continue to step forward in faith one step at a time”

Just Pamela


Pamela hands me this picture on Thursday.   “I’m giving this to you because it is a good picture of you, but a terrible one of me.”  Not true, I respond.

I took the picture with me to school to put in my office.  As I walk down the hall with it in my hand, one of my kindergarten students stops me, gives me a hug,  and says….

“What is that Mrs. Kwogman?”   She is pointing at my picture. I kneel down and show her.

“It’s a picture.”  Yes, it is Makenna.

“That’s you.”  Yes, it is Makenna.  She studies the picture intently.

“Where are you?”  she asks.  I am at my friend Pamela’s house.  It is her son’s graduation party.

“Is that Pamela?” she asks while pointing to Pamela.  Yep.  That is Pamela.

“She’s beautiful.” Absolutely! I tell her.  Makenna still studies and holds the picture.

“Her dress is pretty.”  It is a very pretty dress, I respond.   Makenna grins ear to ear.  Hands back the picture and walks to her class.

Pamela, You are beautiful…thanks for the picture.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11a He makes everything beautiful in His time…..


Okay people….

This is going to be an “okay people”  blog today.   It’s Friday and I am feeling like sharing some thoughts.  I think Pamela would approve and I know some will make her laugh (which she said she wants).  So here it goes……

Okay, well not quite yet.  Pamela and I often miscommunicate with each other.   You would think that would not happen with two SLPs, but it happens a lot.  Her stellar memory can give you more details.  I can only tell you it happens a lot.  I’m all vague and unspecific, but trust me it does happen.  A lot.

So, here is your tutorial about how to read “okay people”.  It is not “ohh kayy peopllllle” Eeyorish like.   It’s not “okay people” as in people are “okay.”   It is a Just Pamela, get  going, said with enthusiasm and emphasis  type,  “okay people!”

“Okay People” # 1   This is for those not squeamish about girl terms-skip to # 3 if you are.

After our fabulous county-wide speech meeting, I had an appointment at United Memorial.  My appointment happened to be with a woman and a machine named, “Salenia“.  Someone at Hologic women’s health company felt that Salenia is a great name for a machine that some how can make the “girls” or more correctly each “girl” flatter than a pancake in 4 seconds.  I try to crack a joke about the technician’s comment about my cleavage getting in the way, but she tells me I will be amazed at what kind of cleavage “the machine” aka “Salenia” can create.  Okay….I’m saying nothing else even when you do ask me if I am okay.  A nod is all I’m giving.  I’m sure you’ve heard all our lame attempts at humor when facing this machine anyway.   Let’s also not be distracted by that cute, girly, flower print cover on the machine plate that is supposed to “soften the squeeze”.  Okay people, I’m grateful and woman kind is forever appreciative for the lives saved due to advanced medical care.  Seriously, I am, but surely there has got to be a better way!!!!!   I’m thinking Salenia had nothing to do with the Salenia Digital Mammography machine, but simply another man’s  twisted adaptation of a machine press.  Take a look and see if you would not also be saying  “Okay people…. Selinia Schmelinia”.  And just for the record, I’m sure that one extra little twist with the handle on the side of “Salenia” was entirely uncalled for……



“Okay People” # 2

After above mentioned event, I decide that the fairly easy pumpkin cinnamon rolls from The Pioneer Woman are just what I “need”.  I head to Meijer and start grabbing the necessary, but not to be found at home ingredients and then I am out of Meijer  pronto on a Friday afternoon.  Just Pamela never buys things all spur of the moment.  She has lists (with quantity and price), coupons, and sticks to the list and never ever deviates, ever.  I’m sure there is also some kind of highlighting and organizational system also going on right within her cart! I’m guessing food may even be alphabetized. I digress.

Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Butter. Check.  Cream Cheese. Check.  Whole milk.  Check.  Pumpkin. Check  My “girls” now hurt.  Check.  Cheetos on sale.  BOGO.  Who can resist?  Peanuts for Brach’s candy corn mixture.  Check.  Brach’s candy corn.  I’m not seeing Brach’s candy corn or pumpkins.  A bit of anxiety wells up, but I’ll just go check over on the other side of the store where all the Halloween candy is hiding.  After trekking a good 1/2 a mile or more, I find the Halloween candy, but still no Brach’s candy corn or pumpkins.  I ask a friendly Meijer associate number 1, “Where is the Brach’s Candy Corn or pumpkins?”  I get a blank stare back and then a quick, “It’s over in grocery on the end cap of 12”.  “Are you sure?” I ask the man.  “I only saw Meijer brand pumpkins and they are just not the same.”  I think in my head……I bet you never had your “girls squeezed” in a machine press er I mean in a Salenia.  He assures me the Brach’s pumpkins and/or candy corn are over by aisle 12.   Off I go again.  Who cares one iota about Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls? Even if they did look incredibly fabulous.

“Okay People”, I need me some Brach’s pumpkins and candy corn.  I trek back a half mile to aisle 12 to discover Meijer Mellow Cream pumpkins and still no Brach’s candy corn.   I ask Meijer associate number 2, if he knows where those Brach’s candy corn and/or pumpkins are?  “Yes!” He tells me.  I think I just heard the Hallelujiah  Chorus.  I wait.  “Aisle 12”,  he tells me.  “Uh no”, I respond.  “There are  only Meijer Mellow Cream pumpkins and they are just not the same.”   I show him, though, that I do have other Meijer products in my cart, but we just can’t be havin’ an alternative to the Brach’s candy corn.   He checks in the back and tells me all they have is the individual 70 pack treat size bag and would that work?  Yes, I respond. However, I think…………….. How can there be no other kind of Brach’s candy corn in this whole 100 acre store, one week before Halloween?  How can one’s “girls” really get squished so flat? Will they ever be the same?  I’m not as young as I used to be?  Things just don’t go “back” like they used to do.  I think of Salenia and decide it will be just grand to have Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and Peanuts and my 70 packets of individually wrapped 1/4 oz Brach’s candy corn.  Tonight.

Very kind Meijer Sales associate apologizes and of course I tell him no worries because in the scheme of things, there are far more important things to spend time on in the world.  Such as…..


“Okay People” # 3

Leave your positive comments  frequently and in large quantity,  keep sending your love and funny stories, keep praying and encouraging.  SLPs are a bit in love with that whole “language thing”.  Blessings and immense gratitude to the best “okay people” ever……..










Laughter is good medicine!

“It feels so good to laugh”, Pamela tells Diane.  I think of the verse, “a joyful heart is good medicine.”  Great truth to be embedded in the heart and mind.  A free gift and a warm hug all wrapped up in a simple Proverb.  Priceless like meals brought in on a cool day with offers of encouragement, help, and kindness from community who keep stepping up, lightening the burden, and bringing joy through the doors.

Pamela will have her case reviewed by a “tumor board” tomorrow.  Treatment options for her unique type of cancer will be discussed. However, part of the difficulty with finding the right treatment is determining the exact location and other important specifics of the cancer.  Monday she will talk to Dr. Brader about the results from the “tumor board” review, possible treatment options, and some next steps.   Right now, chemo and radiation are not on the treatment options list. Cancer was detected in one lymph node.



Now for a bit of “good medicine”.  Wahahahaha!  That is me laughing out loud!    Really hard!   A lot!

Just Pamela has been upgraded from this:



To This:

blow dryer


Pink is your favorite color, isn’t it?


Oh, yes I did and I’m still laughing.  Out loud.  A lot.

Love always.